Family days out in South Gloucestershire

South Gloucestershire has much to offer families and individuals looking for a fun day out including a wide range of tourist attractions and day trip ideas. 

Explore our market towns and historic buildings, take a ride on a steam train and shop in our fantastic Mall at Cribbs Causeway. You can take a journey through our engineering history by visiting Concorde at Aerospace Bristol and discover our amazing countryside for long walks, picnics and bike rides. We are also ideally placed to visit the surrounding areas of Bath, Bristol, Somerset and the Cotswolds so there is something to suit everyone.

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Places and events you can enjoy as a family

Below are some of the places and events you can enjoy as a family.  For more information and ideas see the council’s website and Visit Bristol, a guide to tourist attractions in South Gloucestershire and the surrounding area.

The Mall, Cribbs Causeway

The Mall is situated off junction 17 of the M5 and has 150 top name stores, restaurants and cafes with 7000 free parking spaces. For more information visit the Cribbs Causeway website.

Wild Place

The Wild Place Project is a fun, family attraction that provides adventure, play and learning, with an emphasis on protecting threatened habitats on our doorsteps and around the globe.  See the Wild Place website for more information.

Grimsbury Farm

Situated in Kingswood, South Gloucestershire, Grimsbury Farm has a variety of animals, a playground, a picnic area and a café.  It is perfect for a day out.  The farm is open every day from dawn until dusk throughout the year and is enjoyed by families and couples, old and young alike. Admission and parking is free on site.  

Badminton Horse Trials

Badminton Horse Trials is one of the most popular and prestigious events in the equestrian calendar. It is a three day event, which takes place in April or May each year in the park of Badminton House.  See the Badminton Horse Trials website for more information. 

WWT Slimbridge wetland centre

Get up close to rare and exotic birds, mammals and the largest collection of amphibians in the UK, set in the tranquil surroundings of their nature reserve.  See the Slimbridge Wetland Centre website for more information

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum

This is situated on the outskirts of South Gloucestershire. It has over 15,000 rare and beautiful trees, all set in 600 glorious, easy-to-stroll Cotswold acres. See Westonbirt, The National Arboretum website for more information.

AirHop (Patchway trading estate)

AirHop is an open jump trampoline area with 140 interconnected trampolines that go across the floor and up the walls.  See the AirHop website for more information.

South Gloucestershire Show 

For more information see the South Gloucestershire Show website

Historic sites and events

South Gloucestershire has many places to visit that are of special historical or archaeological interest.  This may include scheduled monuments, conservation sites and listed buildings.  Below are some of the heritage sites in South Gloucestershire: 

Bristol Aerospace 

Aerospace Bristol is a museum dedicated to the preservation and display of artefacts of the Bristol Aeroplane Company. Concorde is the show-stopping centrepiece of this museum, after its last spectacular flight home in 2003. See the Bristol Aerospace Centre website for more information.

Dyrham Park

This grand house was built between 1691 and 1702 and is set in 272 acres of garden, including a deer park. The house is now a National Trust property and contains some lavish collections of 17th and 18th century art. The house has also been used as a filming location and can be found on the A46 from junction 18 on the M4.  See the National Trust website for more information.

The Avon Valley Railway

The Avon Valley Railway has steam trains and scenic boat tours operating throughout the summer. For more information see the Avon Valley Railway website.

Historic Market towns

Thornbury, Chipping Sodbury and Marshfield are historic market towns in South Gloucestershire that have tea rooms, quirky shops, farmers markets and bags of character. For more information about historic market towns see the council website.

Winterbourne Barn

Built in 1342, just a few years before the great plagues swept across England, the barn is a unique survival of the medieval agrarian economy. It was commissioned by Thomas de Bradeston, who was Lord of the Manor of Winterbourne from 1328 until his death in 1360. See the Winterbourne Barn website for more information.

Acton Court

Acton Court is a beautifully conserved Tudor courtier’s mansion. Open on a number of days throughout summer. Professional guides give tours of the house and grounds.  See the Acton Court website for more information.

Thornbury Castle

Thornbury Castle hotel is a beautiful 16th century building, which was once owned by Henry VIII and stands in 15 acres of regal splendour, surrounded by its vineyards and Tudor garden. It is renowned for being one of the finest country house hotels in England.  See Thornbury Castle website for more information.

Kingswood Heritage Museum

The museum is located in the former William Champion 18th century zinc and brass work and features a windmill tower.  Permanent exhibits illustrate Kingswood Forest, coal mining, Douglas motorcycles, Kleen-e-ze, non-conformist religion, Edwardian Kingswood, the boot and shoe trade and the Dram Road.  There are regular guided walks round Warmley Historic Garden and the Grotto. Find further information on the Kingswood Heritage Museum website.

Ram Hill Colliery

Ram Hill Colliery site is a fine example of early nineteenth century coal mining. Dating to around 1830 the site is located at the heart of the North Bristol coalfield and holds the standing remains of the steam engine house, the horse gin, the mineshaft, the dramway terminus and, in all probability, the water reservoir and boiler house.For more information visit the council website.

Yate and District Heritage centre

Visit Yate & District Heritage centre and explore the fascinating history of Yate and the surrounding area. For more information about the history of this area visit the Yate and District Heritage centre website.

Information about further heritage sites in South Gloucestershire can be found on the council's Museum and Heritage website.

Heritage walks

South Gloucestershire has fantastic countryside and stunning scenery together with interesting historical trails and buildings.  

The Heritage Walks and Trails are a great way to enjoy the countryside and to learn about the history of your local area.  Walk information is available on the Heritage Walks and Trails website.

Historic Environment Record (HER)

HERs are an important starting point for anyone interested in the archaeology, built heritage, and history of an area. They can provide information on a wide variety of buildings and sites.

Further guidance about Historic Environment Record can be found on Historic England’s website.

How to get to South Gloucestershire

With excellent road and rail links, South Gloucestershire is one of the best connected areas in the country.

South Gloucestershire also enjoys good access to Bristol International Airport and the Port of Bristol, the fastest growing deep water port in the UK.

By road

South Gloucestershire is well served by the national and regional road transport network. The M4 and M5 motorways place London and Birmingham within a two-hour drive and Cardiff within one hour. The M32 gives direct access from the M4 to central Bristol.

By bike

For inspiration and information to get cycling, visit the council's website on cycling

By rail

Rail services from Bristol Parkway Station provide fast links to London, Birmingham, Cardiff and Southampton. Yate, Severn Beach, Patchway and Filton are connected by local rail services to central Bristol, Bath and Weston Super Mare.

By air

Bristol International Airport is one of the UK’s fastest growing airports. The airport now offers over 100 destinations, including Paris, Rome and Madrid.

Travel contact details:

  • Travel West provide local public transport information and walking and cycling routes.  See the Travel West website for more information
  • First Group run buses for the main cities and smaller towns in the UK.  See the First Group website for more information
  • Traveline provide routes and times for all travel in Great Britain by bus, rail, coach and ferry.  See the Traveline website for more information 

Tourist information centres

Local information for tourists visiting South Gloucestershire and the neighbouring areas can be obtained from tourist information centres.

The Old Town Hall
Old Police Station
35 High Street
BS35 2AR

Tel: 01454 281638
Thornbury town council website

Chipping Sodbury
High Street
The Clock Tower
Chipping Sodbury
BS37 6AH

Tel: 01454 888686
Chipping Sodbury tourist information centre website